Jamie Varner started off 2012 fighting on a HDNet-televised regional card, and now he finds himself as the opening act for the 4th installment of UFC on FOX this August. He was tabbed as an injury replacement for Terry Etim against Joe Lauzon, and today it was confirmed that his fight would be placed on the main card. FightLine reported the news:
A lightweight affair between Joe Lauzon and Jamie Varner will be the fourth fight on the main card for UFC on Fox 4. The event takes place August 4 from Los Angeles' Staples Center.
The former WEC Lightweight champion had fallen on hard times in the cage, losing three of four fights (and drawing the other), and as a result he was released before the organization merged with the UFC. All of his post-release bouts (bar one at welterweight) were held at a catchweight, going 3-1 in the process. The UFC signed him to replace the injured Evan Dunham against highly touted prospect Edson Barboza at UFC 146. A heavy underdog, Varner used his wrestling and powerful striking to pull off a stunning first-round TKO, marking his first win at 155 lbs since 2009. Now he's looking to make it 2-for-2 as an injury substitute.
Lauzon is coming off a head kick KO defeat against Anthony Pettis at UFC 144, negating his memorable swift submission win against Melvin Guillard at UFC 136. The Massachusetts native has become well known for his exciting fights, regardless of the outcome. In 3 of his 4 UFC losses, he still came away with Fight of the Night honors. He's also racked up Submission of the Night bonuses in 4 consecutive wins.
UFC on FOX 4, originally headlined by Brian Stann against Hector Lombard before Stann's injury, is now headlined by former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Mauricio Rua vs. Brandon Vera in a five-rounder. Perhaps the most interesting omission from the main card is #6 ranked LHW Phil Davis. "Mr. Wonderful" has been in the main event his last two fights, but his lopsided and unexciting decision loss against Rashad Evans at UFC on FOX 2 sees him drop to FUEL TV preliminaries against UFC debutant Wagner Prado. In all likelihood, the high probability of audience-pleasing excitement and low-chance of a decision between Varner and Lauzon (just 7 decisions out of 57 between both men), despite the fact neither is remotely close to the LW title picture, was too good for the UFC and especially FOX to pass up.
The full fight card can be found after the jump.
Main Card (FOX, 8 PM ET/5 PM PT)
Mauricio Rua vs. Brandon Vera (main event)
Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader (co-main)
Travis Browne vs. Ben Rothwell
Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner
Preliminary Card (FUEL TV, 5 PM ET/2 PM PT)
Cole Miller vs. Nam Phan
Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado
Mike Swick vs. DaMarques Johnson
Josh Grispi vs. Rani Yahya
Philip De Fries vs. Oli Thompson
Manny Gamburyan vs. Michihiro Omigawa
Matt Mitrione vs. Rob Broughton